United Voice members working at Spotless Laundry took action and have come away with a win.
Members were originally offered a pay increase of only 1.5 per cent, which was the equivalent of an extra $7 a week.
Members at Spotless described the original pay off of 1.5 per cent as ‘degrading’ and ‘a slap in the face.’
United Voice delegate Deb said she and her fellow staff members were worth a lot more than $7 a week.
“It means a lot to us to get a little bit more. We’ve got to survive out there,” she said.
“They keep claiming that we’re above award rate but that doesn’t always pay your bills.
“There are women in here that are on their own. That have children and that rely on their wages, so if we don’t keep up with inflation, they’re not going to survive.”
Members at Spotless refused to back down and across the past two weeks staged several protests to show management they weren’t willing to accept their offer.
Members showed solidarity by donning badges that proclaimed ‘United We Stand’ and ‘I can’t survive on 1.5’.
They continued the action later in the week, signing flyers titled “You can stick your $7” and putting them into management’s suggestion box.
This week members amped up the action, by demonstrating to management that an extra $7 a week only translates to a loaf of bread and a bottle of milk.
To show what they thought of the pay offer members took the bread and milk and dumped it out the front of management’s office.
Because of the hard work of members, when it came to bargaining negotiations hours later, Spotless management was forced to raise their offer.
Members at Spotless have won a pay increase of 3.5 per cent each year for the next three years and casual workers who have stayed more than 9 months with regular work will be made permanent.
In return for creating two set starting times for shifts, members affected by this change will receive a $1000 transition payment.
United Voice WA Secretary Carolyn Smith said the bread and milk protest highlights the power people have when they unite.
“Spotless management’s original offer was far too low, well below the cost of living increases we see every day in WA,” she said.
“But United Voice members made their case to management, who have now come to the table with a 3.5 per cent increase.
“That money will mean all the difference when the household bills come in.”